Elections to 5,762 gram panchayats in Karnataka will be conducted over two phases on December 22 and 27 and the counting of votes will be carried out on December 30, the State Election Commission announced on Monday.
The elections to 92,121 seats in the 5,762 gram panchayats are being held after the Karnataka High Court directed the state government on November 13 to hold the polls for the panchayats whose terms have ended or will end by December.
Out of a total of 6,004 gram panchayats in Karnataka, 242 will not go to polls on account of their terms not ending or pending legal issues, the state election commission said.
“The gram panchayat polls have been announced and today onwards we cannot have any programmes. The GP polls are as important as state and parliament polls. The polls are important for strengthening the party at the grassroot level. Under the leadership of the state party president, preparations have already started for the polls,” Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said.
“Even though the GP polls are not fought with party symbols, people know the associations of the candidates,” he added. The announcement of the polls will not affect a cabinet expansion set to take place in two days, he said.
“The Congress party has started preparing for the GP polls. Nine separate teams will be created which will conduct meetings at the district and assembly constituency levels,” state Congress president D K Shivakumar said.
On November 13, the high court cited the smooth conduct of the Bihar Assembly polls to direct the state election commission to finalise the schedule for the gram panchayat elections. It also asked the state government to provide funds for the polls.
A division bench issued the orders in a petition filed by Congress leader K C Kondaiah and others, seeking elections to the 6,004 gram panchayats, the terms of a majority of which ended in October and November. The state government had argued that it would be difficult to hold the polls this year on account of the pandemic.
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